Since you began driving a car, you have followed certain rules to keep yourself safe behind the wheel—you adjust your mirrors, wear a seatbelt, use your headlights, and slow down while driving in bad weather. These rules have probably become a matter of routine.
However, a lot has changed since you first got your driver's license, from vehicle technology to traffic rules and even road conditions. Now is the time to take a proactive stance to staying safe on the road. Here are three ways you can remain safe behind the wheel if you are over age 50.
To drive well and avoid accidents, you must be able to see well. Your eyes are likely to change when you are in your forties, and changes in vision can make it more challenging for you to see properly while you drive or perform other tasks. The lenses in your eyes may tend to scatter light rather than focus it on the retina, causing headlight glares at night and sun reflections during the day. You may also notice changes in color perception.
To see well and safely drive, visit your eye doctor regularly to update your prescription for contacts, glasses, or bifocals. He or she can also check for eye conditions that can further deteriorate your vision, like glaucoma and macular degeneration.
When you drive, wear sunglasses to keep the sun's glare from hindering your vision. Sunglasses and prescription glasses should have thin side pieces to keep your peripheral vision unobstructed. Adjust your seat, so you sit a minimum of 10 inches from the steering wheel.
Finally, keep your windows and mirrors clean, especially when you drive at night. All these steps can help you see better when you drive.
It's said that an object in motion stays in motion, and exercise is important for aging healthily. But how does this help you once you're behind the wheel? Studies show that exercising can help certain muscles like those in your neck, back, and arms become more flexible. This comes in handy while performing the more physically challenging movements related to driving:
- Turning your body to look behind you to back up
- Getting in and out of your vehicle
- Turning your head sharply to check blind spots before lane changes
To be able to move well, increase your general flexibility by working on shoulder stretches and chest and shoulder expansions. Practice sets of bicep curls or thigh squats to improve your body strength. Finally, to increase your range of motion, try some heel drops and back stretches. Make sure your physician knows first, and with your doctor discuss some more exercises designed to keep you flexible behind the wheel.
To help you stay safe behind the wheel and avoid accidents, study well. Because road rules change over the years, it's a good idea to take a safe-driving class. The AARP and National Safety Council are two popular sites that offer online classes or traditional classroom settings.
These classes are designed to act as a refresher course by helping you brush up on your driving skills and to learn and practice defensive driving. Even better, you may receive a discount on your auto insurance after you complete a course.
These surprising ways may just keep you safer while driving and avoid an accident down the road. Seeing, moving, and studying well allows you to enjoy the freedom of driving while keeping you and others safe and accident-free. If your car is ever in an accident, you can visit the experts at Ray’s Collision Center for repair.